Dr Mpho Tshivhase became South Africa's first black woman to earn a PhD in philosophy.
South Africa’s first black woman to be awarded a PhD in philosophy comes from the village of Makwarela, just outside Sibasa.
On Thursday, 12 April, Dr Mpho Tshivhase received her PhD degree during the graduation ceremony of the University of Johannesburg (UJ). Her thesis, very fittingly, focuses on what it means for people to be unique.
The title of her thesis was entitled: “Towards a normative theory of uniqueness of persons.” Her research project was completed under the supervision of Prof Thaddeus Metz, Distinguished Professor in the Department of Philosophy at UJ.
Prof Metz described Dr Tshivhase’s thesis as the first systematic treatment of uniqueness as something valuable that can be manifested in a person’s life. “Dr Tshivhase distinguishes the value of uniqueness from other values such as happiness and morality, arguing that it merits attention as something worth having in its own right. She also points out that existing philosophical accounts of uniqueness all share the counter-intuitive implication that everyone is always already unique,” he said.
The 32-year-old Dr Tshivhase, who works as a lecturer at the University of Pretoria, said that her newly acquired qualification had opened her eyes to see an obvious gap in the development of women “While we know the political history that has led to this gap, I believe it is important to find ways to redress this deficiency. While it is inspiring and well worth celebrating, it is also distressing that I am the first African woman from South Africa to get a doctorate in the field of philosophy from any institution.”
Tshivhase is the last-born of three children who were raised by a single mother, the late Ellen Tshivhase.
She encouraged other women to follow their dreams. “Dreams that one has for oneself are never impossible. To fail at one’s own dreams is to fail oneself. People, in general, should never give up on their own dreams. Women in particular should never think that being a woman makes them less capable of achieving their own goals,” she said.
Date:13 May 2018 - By: Maanda Bele
Maanda Bele, born and raised in Nzhelele Siloam, is currently a third year journalism student at the Tshwane University of Technology.
He is passionate about current news and international affairs.
He joined the Zoutnet team as an intern in 2017.